It is very common to hear about dogs with jobs. They do police work, search-and-rescue, work as service dogs, and even join the military. But what about cats? It turns out our feline friends have some interesting jobs as well.
The Wakayama Electric Railway in Japan employs a feline Stationmaster at many of its railway stations in Japan. After appointing Tama the cat as stationmaster in the rural town of Kishikawa, they started a promotional campaign, hanging posters of the cat in her stationmaster’s hat in the train carriages. It turned out to be a brilliant idea, as Tama-fever took over, and tourists flocked from all over to see her. According to one study, Tama was responsible for a boost of approximately $10 million to the local economy.
Sadly, Tama passed away this past June at the age of 16. After the traditional 50 days of mourning, Tama’s assistant stationmaster, Nitama, was promoted. Nitama attended Cat Stationmaster Training School, where she proved her people skills and willingness to wear the hat.
DirectFURR of Guest Relations
The Algonquin Hotel in New York City has had a DirectFURR of Guest Relations since Rusty moved in in the mid-1930s. Rusty’s name was changed to Hamlet, and since then, there have been 10 Algonquin cats – all rescues, and all named either Hamlet or Matilda. At the moment, Matilda III poses for photos and takes naps – but can no longer roam freely thanks to health regulations preventing her from being in the lobby where food is served.
Working Cats Programs
Since unsocialized cats are the first cats to be euthanized in shelters, several Humane Societies and rescue organizations have created Working Cats programs. Feral cats are spayed or neutered and vaccinated, then placed in a setting where their skills at repelling rodents are useful. The “employer” provides food, water, and shelter, and the cats work to keep rodents away from settings such as barns, warehouses, and even police stations. Check out this cool video from VTFA in LA.
Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office
The official resident cat at 10 Downing Street, the residence of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, is often known as the Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office. The Downing Street residence or the Treasury have had a resident cat since the reign of Henry VIII. The current Mouser is named Larry, appointed in 2011.
Social Media Specialist
Court House Cat makes the rounds at Township Hall in Middle Township, Cape May County NJ, boosting morale for township staff. He actually has a home, but each day he sneaks into the building to hang out with staff, attend Township Committee meetings, and most recently, turns up on social media to promote safe driving.
The relationship between cats and sailors is very old – since cats keep the rodents down, preserving ship supplies and preventing the spread of disease, there’s a superstition that it is lucky to have a cat on board. But cats have a big part in military history as rodent control and morale officers aboard the ships from many nations, including the US, Canada, the UK, and others.
Cats are among the many animals that provide vital, personal services for human companions. Cats are employed as visitors to long term care facilities, emotional support for people with mental health concerns, and can even be trained in seizure detection.
So as you can see, cats can be great employees, making important contributions to physical health, mental health, and the economy of their human friends. All they ask in return is a little bit of love. Perhaps it’s time for a raise!